Victor Hugo

8"x 8" oil on canvas panel Do not ask me why I did a painting of a ticked-off looking Victor Hugo. I do not know why. Well, I actually know the "why" behind the "ticked-off" part: In most photographs taken of him, Victor Hugo tended to look like he wanted to kill the photographer, hence the "ticked-off" part. People in photographs from that period did not smile. Not because everybody from that time was nasty—no, it was because of the time it took to expose the film. Too long to sit there comfortably holding a smile and—more importantly to the photographer—sit still. As a result, most peoples' expressions looked generally benign, but our friend above most always looked genuinely ticked-off at the inconvenience. At best, he looked bored and frustrated at the incompetence of the photographer. Being the bizarre artist that I am, I liked the, "Stand still whilst my eyes burn holes in your decrepit soul!" look, Mr. Hugo is expressing above. So, here is Mr. Darth Victor Hugo in oil paint.
  
Posted July 22, 2014


sold

Enduro Dixon No. 20 Pencil Sharpener

8"x12" oil on canvas panel I had not realized that I had not shown this painting to you. So, here it is. The set up with the pencil sticking out of the sharpener was an experiment that, I think, actually worked. Nothing like a pencil sharpener with a translucent hopper for a fun, insanity inducing painting experience. As far as I know, this model came with green, red, and orange (like this one) hoppers. Still looking for the red and green. At a good price, of course.
  
Posted July 17, 2014


Beacon Two-Twenty Five Camera

4"x6" oil on raymar panel This camera really ticked me off. It was supposed to be kind of a small(ish) camera purchased on eBay. Turns out, that in person, this camera is much bigger than I thought it was going to be. I should not be surprised, being the seasoned eBay addict that I am, I should have known that things are not always what they seem in the digital realm. What looks like two inches can be a foot and what looks like a foot can be two inches. It should be mandatory that in every eBay picture there must be a quarter or a penny next to the item for scale. I don't care what the item is—Selling a Buick, put a quarter next to it! Wandered off there, sorry. Whatever its size, I still think this is a great looking camera and, as you may know, I have always been attracted to cameras that have gray(ish) front panels. Gray is just so much fun to paint, it is hard to resist. So, I bought the dang camera and it's bigger than I thought, well just boohoo me. Yep, already moved on to other nefarious subject matter.
  
Posted July 15, 2014


Bilora Boy Camera

5"x5" oil on door skin panel I have always loved this camera and had been hunting for one for quite some time when one popped up on Etsy. So, BAM, I picked it up and here it is in oil paint. This little bakelite beauty was Germany's post WWII response to the Kodak Brownie. And a beautiful response it was. Just a wonderful example of great industrial design with its elegant, yet simple lines. Can you tell?—I love this camera. Just like the little promo says, "Mensch prima!" I have no idea what that means, but I do know that is either an awfully small boy or an awfully large camera in that ad.



The Cityscape (Group) Show IV at the George Billis Gallery/LA
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Opening Reception: July 12th / 5 - 8 PM
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd
I will be exhibiting in this group show running from July 12th to August 23rd. Come to the opening reception this Saturday, check it out. I will be there holding up the walls.

George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com
  
Posted July 9, 2014


Raymond's New Work & George Billis Gallery Show

Great News!

The above three paintings will be making their debut at The Cityscape Show IV at George Billis Gallery this coming Saturday. The pieces measure 24”x16” each. The show last year was terrific and the line up of participating artists (see invite below) promises another great show this year. It is a group show including the work of 21 artists showing their take on the cityscape.

Here are the particulars of the show:

The Cityscape Show IV
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Opening Reception: July 12th / 5 - 8 PM
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com

I will be at the opening and, if you can make it, it would be great to see you. The show starts at 5 PM and I would advise going as close to 5 PM as possible to get the best parking spaces. There are several other openings the same night at galleries surrounding the Billis, so it should be a festive night in the Culver City Art District (www.ccgalleryguide.com).

Hope to see you there!

  
Posted July 7, 2014




Halloween Cat Cookie Jar

6"x4" oil on door skin panel I have a friend who loans me stuff to paint. His name is Scott, you may remember his wonderful Revere 85 8mm projector that I painted in my dubious fashion. Scott has an... hmm, how to say it?... eclectic taste and procures items via sometimes odd processes. When asked about the origins of the above cat cookie jar, the story forwarded was that his neighbor threw it at him from over the fence after said neighbor ran out of dirt clods to throw. To me—considering that description sums up my own life at the age of 10—the tale seemed completely plausible. The only thing I found surprising is that the neighbor planned so poorly as to run out of dirt clods during an attack. In the backyard wars of my misspent youth, we never went into battle without having a sufficient arsenal of dirt clods and no, one could not resort to using rocks—that's just not cricket, kosher, or whatever term you like to use for proper. Painting this jar, with its shiny black surface, was a similar experience to painting chrome. Light and reflections were dancing all over the evil thing. An insane proposition which I, of course, find great joy in undertaking. In such cases, the approach of just slowing down, seeing what's there and going for it, usually carries the day.
  
Posted July 2, 2014


Enos Farm House - The Side (Larger)

16"x24" oil on canvas This painting was a star at the last Beverly Hills show. Of course, there is not a piece that outshines the ethereal appearance (just out the back, under the umbrella) of The Spousal Unit, but this piece made a solid attempt. Pieces like this are all about staging. The old house must be served up to you as if on a platter. Beyond the obvious elements of composition and perspective, I try to achieve this via values, temperatures, intensities, etc. It is usually the "etc." part that gives me the most trouble.
  
Posted June 30, 2014


Red Caps

6"x4" oil on raymar panel I would say that there are—roughly speaking—about a million bottles in my studio. At least that is what if feels like. I keep them low in case an earthquake smites the studio. If an earthquake did hit and I was in the studio, with all the stuff in here, I would be dead anyway, so I do not really know why I keep the bottles down low. I can just see the  headline on page 22 of the local rag (that has only 16 pages): "Artist Killed by Vengeful Philco Radio!" I threw in the exclamation point just to make myself feel important. These three, with their red caps, caught my eye one day, so here they are in oil paint.
  
Posted June 28, 2014


sold • private collection bradbury, ca

Lollipop Cherry


12"x8" oil on canvas panel What better way to finish off the series than with cherry, just like a hot fudge sundae. This is the last in the series of five lollipops. The paintings were challenging beyond the obvious strangeness of that ever mystical villain, cellophane. The lollipops altered their surroundings in different ways, primarily by bouncing color around. Now, you could make the argument that the bouncing was going on in my slightly tilted brain. Go ahead. I won't argue with you. I just hope you enjoyed these. This will be me bragging, but I am so giddy about it, that I do not care...  All five paintings sold to the same collector! The five staying together makes me so happy that I think I will eat one of my subjects—I might just start with the grape.
  
Posted June 26, 2014


sold • private collection washington, dc
 

Old Signal Lantern

6"x4" oil on door skin panel How do I know this is a old signal lantern? Well, it is just a guess really, but here are my simple observations. Old? = The object is rusty and somebody smashed the poor thing down. Signal? = The glass is red and it has a strange long hook thingy growing from its cap. Lantern? = It was obviously made to emanate light by being lit and adjusted by that little doohickey on the right. Sherlock Holmes I am not, but I hope my deductions are correct. If not, please let me know. Why paint it in its tilting squashed down state and why is my commentary in the form of annoying questions? As far as painting the lantern in its sad state(?): If you have followed my work for any amount of time, you may have realized that realism is not what I am after with my painting. This painting started out with the venerable lantern being straight up (corrected), but the more I engaged it, the more I kept bringing its honest tilt back. The old thing just seemed to deserve it—to be related as it is, without correction. As to the commentary being in the form of questions(?): I am in a nasty mood with nary a cookie in sight.
  
Posted June 23, 2014


Lollipop Lemon

12"x8" oil on canvas panel What better flavor to follow lime than lemon? Absolutely no segue for this, but here goes... Jazz is my favorite form of music. There, I admit it. I am not an all-knowing connoisseur, so do not shoot me any technical questions trying to stump me and prove you are smarter than me about it. Let's just go with the assumption that you are smarter than me and leave it at that. Proof of my love of jazz: While Led Zeppelin or Steely Dan may have been playing in the background, my brother and I would actually be debating who was the greater songstress: Carmen McRae (my brother's choice) or Sarah Vaughan (my lady). It was a given that this argument was, in a sense, for second place because the undisputed American Lady of Song was (in our humble opinions) obviously Ella Fitzgerald. To us, Ms. Fitzgerald held an unassailable position of greatness. More Proof: As a kid, I wore out the grooves on a couple of Wes Montgomery and Buddy Rich albums. Seriously, the grooves were worn away. What brought on this confession and reminiscing? Horace Silver died. Mr. Silver was 85 years young when he passed away yesterday. In my mind, in the arc of jazz history, there is this amazing middle that was just so powerful, so damn good, that it formed a backbone within the art form. I consider Mr. Silver to have been a member of that backbone and his passing has given me pause to think about my love of the American Art Form. Sorry to torture you with the above diatribe, but believe me when I say that I am sparing you, because I could go on and on about jazz. Let's just end it with my suggestion to go listen to a little of Mr. Silver's music.
  
Posted June 19, 2014


sold • private collection washington, dc

Little Red Radio (Emerson)

4"x6" oil on masonite panel I thought we should take a break from the lollipop paintings. Just too much sugary goodness for me. In an effort to avoid cavities, please find the above  little painting of a little red radio.
  
Posted June 16, 2014


sold • private collection malton, north yorkshire, uk
 

Lollipop Lime


12"x8" oil on canvas panel More sugary goodness. This time it's green via the flavor lime. Sometimes these things are so sugary that you really have a hard time telling the difference between the flavors. I guess the flavor is not the point. The point is to give little kids sugar highs and lick yours a lot so it sticks in your brother's hair when you "accidentally" throw it at his head.
  
Posted June 12, 2014


sold • private collection washington, dc

Lollipop Orange

12"x8" oil on canvas panel Boy! School is out and the frequency with which I encounter The Spawn has increased. This, or course, means I have a ton to complain about, but you know what? Let's just look at an orange lollipop instead. There... that's better. Add a little Charlie Parker on top and a good deadbolt on the studio door and... all is right in the world.
  
Posted June 10, 2014


sold • private collection washington, dc

Lollipop Grape

12"x8" oil on canvas panel I may have mentioned in an earlier post how I embarrassed my family in a public space when I found one of these lollipops and proceeded to pilfer the other flavors. Well, here is the first in the series of five lollipops I acquired in that venture (see picture below). Each lollipop piece is 12"x8" in size and She Who Must Be Obeyed chose the color arrangement you see below and I think She got it spot on. Due to the constraints of this format, I thought it best to show them to you one at a time and in Her recommended order: Grape, Orange, Lime, Lemon, and top it off with Cherry.
  
Posted June 6, 2014


sold • private collection washington, dc

 
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